Saturday

7th Dec 2019

Eurozone core meet in secret, but Greek exit from euro a 'fantasy'

  • The meeting will cover 'difficult issues' for creditors (Photo: 1suisse)

Core Eurozone finance ministers are holding a secret meeting in Luxembourg to discuss "difficult issues", including Greece's ongoing troubles, but attendees will not be talking about a possible Greek exit from the eurozone.

The European Commission and the finance ministers of Germany, France, Italy and Spain are in the Grand Duchy for a private chat about the "outstanding eurozone creditor issues with regard to the continuing problems in Greece," a source familiar with the discussions told EUobserver.

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Jean-Claude Juncker, the prime minister of Luxembourg of the eurogroup, the 17 countries that employ the single currency, is also there "despite the denials of his ministry," the source continued.

Finland may also attend, but not Greece. The idea is to have a "smaller group" consider these matters privately, without the full eurogroup needing to attend.

In addition, the discussion extends to the sizeable presence of MPs in the new Finnish parliament who are reluctant to bail out Portugal and what is to be done. The question of who is to be the next president of the European Central Bank is on the brief agenda as well.

Spiegel Online had late Friday afternoon reported that the meeting was called to consider Greece leaving the euro.

Earlier in the evening, the European Commission said it was "not aware" of any secret emergency meeting in Luxembourg.

"We are not aware of such a meeting," commission spokesman Mark Gray told EUobserver.

"We have absolutely no idea of what this is about. I have no comment. I don't know where they are getting this from," added the head of the commission's spokesperson's service.

Meanwhile, the spokesman for eurogroup chief and Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker, Guy Schuller told Reuters: "I totally deny that there is a meeting, these reports are totally wrong."

The Greek finance ministry subsequently dismissed the report of a Greek flight from the euro as a "provocation undermines Greece and the euro and serves the interests of speculators."

The Dutch foreign ministry also reported that the finance minister was in Rotterdam.

Other official denials of a Greek exit have also started to come in. The French finance ministry has described the idea of Greece leaving the eurozone as a "total fantasy".

UPDATE: This article earlier erroneously reported that the Dutch finance minister had attended the Luxembourg meeting.

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